10 Facts You Should Know About Fusion Energy

Written by
Larry Bernard
Jan. 25, 2016
  1. It’s natural. In fact, it’s abundant throughout the universe. Stars – and there are billions and billions of them – produce energy by fusion of light atoms.
  2. It’s safe. There are no dangerous byproducts. It produces some radioactive waste, but that requires only decades to decay, not thousands of years.  Further, any byproducts are not suitable for production of nuclear weapons.
  3. It’s environmentally friendly. Fusion can help slow climate change. There are no carbon emissions so fusion will not contribute to a concentration of greenhouse gases that heat the Earth. And it helps keep the air clean.
  4. It’s conservation-friendly. Fusion helps conserve natural resources because it does not rely on traditional means of generating electricity, such as burning coal.
  5. It’s international. Fusion can help reduce conflicts among countries vying for natural resources due to fuel supply imbalances.
  6. It’s unlimited. Fusion fuel – deuterium and tritium – is available around the world. Deuterium can be readily extracted from ordinary water. Tritium can be produced from lithium, which is available from land deposits or from seawater.
  7. It’s industrial scale. Fusion can power cities 24 hours a day regardless of weather.
  8. It’s exciting. Fusion produces important scientific and engineering breakthroughs and spinoffs in its own and other fields.
  9. It’s achievable. Fusion is produced in laboratories around the world and research is devoted to making it practicable.
  10. It’s the Future. Fusion can transform the way the world produces energy.

PPPL is mastering the art of using plasma — the fourth state of matter — to solve some of the world's toughest science and technology challenges. Nestled on Princeton University’s Forrestal Campus in Plainsboro, New Jersey, our research ignites innovation in a range of applications including fusion energy, nanoscale fabrication, quantum materials and devices, and sustainability science. The University manages the Laboratory for the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Science, which is the nation’s single largest supporter of basic research in the physical sciences. Feel the heat at https://energy.gov/science and https://www.pppl.gov.